by Rebecca van Laer

This is how it begins–wind

whisking hats, what’s left of the roofs

of grayed barns and hurling them into hayfields.

Stalks bent, roads scored like games of tic-tac-toe.

My husband and the dog perched

on the seam between the two husks

of our double wide, the velvet

sofa stained with ashes and stale piss.

I–applying band-aids, strip-searching

pubescent riff-raff for Robitussin capsules, but then

we all had to hunker, keep our mouths between our knees.

The walls hissed.  In the movies

cows rise up, sigh, float down safe and I think

this city has that same dumb-eyed grace.

Motoring back across the tracks I didn’t fear I’d find bodies—

worse, all my housework scattered on some field.

When I was young and white-skirted I wanted

more, more than plains rolling out like pie crust.

Cities with cranes in the sky, steel

boned buildings rising.

I wanted my  lips

to stand out like the brick courthouse

too strong to suffer from the kiss of any gust.

To come out in full-color, red

shoes, blue dress, none of that cropped

hair glamour—Lulu Brooks all ash

and black, her tap-dance silenced

by the whine of the film reel. And I came

home today to the whole house tipping to the still

ground, sofa slammed into the vanity.

by Rebecca van Laer

*”Dorothy Comes Home From Work” was the 1st runner up in the 2010 Flatmancrooked Poetry Prize. It appears in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics, available for pre-order soon. Cover design by Michael Fusco.

September 1, 2010 | Posted in: Fiction | Comments Closed

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